Reporting Overdoses in Real Time and Saving Lives

By Jennifer L. Warren

NEWBURGH – Saving lives.

It’s the message at the epicenter of a real time technology notification system, titled PREDX, designed to report overdoses, allowing for first responders to predict where future overdoses may occur. And thanks to the collected effort of several agencies and determined individuals, it’s currently in effect in two area hospitals: Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as well as Ellenville, with plans to move into three more. The need for the updated, faster speed of relaying critical Opioid overdose data was long overdue.

Just consider the riveting statistic that in April, 2017-April, 2018 there were 221 recorded overdoses reported at Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital. Many of those cases could have been prevented if information to needed agencies was received earlier. Potential cluster activity could have been predicted, and lives could have been immediately saved. The archaic data distribution of Opioid overdoses was a harmful reality seen by many, particularly Team Newburgh and 1 Life Project as well as Competitive Solutions Inc. The trio of agencies fused together in 2017, sharing their concerns on the pertinent data distribution and thanks to the funding of 1 Life Project and the Nathan Kline Project Institute, within just one year, they collaborated to form the recently released data collections system:

Hudsonvalleyinterlink analytic system (PREDX a part of this), piloted by Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and used by their emergency room. The positive results have already been potently noticeable.

“We are using it to see the direct times of day to be in the street reaching people, the locations of where to go, working with Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital with how we can support them from a community level,” explained Dawn Wilkin, Assistant Director of Prevention Services of Catholic Charities as well as a member of Team Newburgh. “With the level that the Opioid epidemic is at in this area (Newburgh was once the highest in the state), we need to know when an incident happens right now in order to help prevent future cases.”

The system was designed by Marisa Barbieri of the non-profit 1 Life Project as well as Competitive Solutions Inc. A health care information technology specialist, Barbieri saw a blatant and very harmful delay in the drug overdose data transmission realm and knew something had to be done. She felt very fortunate to “be at the right place at the right time to listen to the issues and lend a helping hand.” Moreso, she is blessed to have such a passionate, skilled team behind her, allowing for the desperately needed, and now very workable, groundbreaking system to be delivered to the public so quickly and efficiently.

“The data collection in the world of prevention is 2-3 years old; it’s never up to date, and no one gets what is really needed to make things work,” said Barbieri, who resides in Rockland County. “I wanted to save lives, and after seeing this problem happening over and over, I realized we really needed the technology to fight it.”

That technology is an intricately designed one, aimed at “watching and talking to the community.” Immediately taking in information on an Opioid overdose, it allows the community to be informed FAST, and prevent unnecessary deaths in the process. More specifically, it has the ability to detect and offset potential formations of overdose clusters through rapid text message communication. Everything about it is in real time. It’s defined by expediency.

Saving lives is the unwavering mission. Expanding its outreach is its future.

“I got into this game to go nationally; I want to see this implemented all over the country,” said Barbieri. “We now have Amazon webservices supporting us, and I want this to be in effect everywhere; the citizens and community should be asking for it.”

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